Warning: there is a bit of ego in this post. Or at least faux-ego. With SLIDERS REBORN, I am (pretending to be) leading the SLIDERS property. I have a (largely imagined) responsibility to shepherd this property in a fashion that is accessible for its audience.
That's largely an audience of SLIDERS fans, a decision for which Matt Hutaff has been (correctly) critical. Doing a direct sequel to "The Seer" albeit with a time gap, treating the sliders as familiar characters to whom the readers are being re-introduced -- SLIDERS REBORN isn't a mass-audience product, it's not an entry-level story for a new generation of SLIDERS fans.
That's something I think media tie-in material can do because the target audience is the fans. Examples of such products include DOCTOR WHO comics and novels, the X-FILES SEASON 10 - 11 comics, STAR TREK novels -- writers feel comfortable assuming the audience is familiar with the mythology, continuity and signifiers.
I enjoy using continuity as a *tool*. I don't throw in references randomly; they are present because they create a feeling of intimacy between the characters and the reader. They create a sense of shared experience: we all saw Rembrandt lose his Cadillac, we all saw him admit he had no idea how to recharge the timer, we all saw Wade revealed as a mutilated human computer. When I bring these things up in scripts, I think it makes the reader feel like they are one of the sliders.
However, continuity references that don't serve a plot or emotional purpose are a distraction. They interrupt pacing. They throw off the rhythm of scenes. It's like pausing in the middle of a song to interject some unnecessary commentary before pressing play again. As I said, Mallory's presence brings in so many questions and requires that the story stop in place completely in order to answer them. It's disruptive.
I mean, SLIDERS REBORN has some crazy long scenes -- but those scenes are filled with the voices of the characters whom we all missed and longed to see again, so I felt that was simply giving the audience everything they wanted and more -- but if they stopped suddenly to explain who Mallory is and why he's there and how he can exist -- the energy would instantly deflate.
HIGHLIGHT TO SEE SPOILERS
When Smarter-Quinn from the Pilot shows up in REBORN, it was necessary to account for how he was in "The Other Slide of Darkness" as a suicidal shaman of a forest tribe who claimed to have given the Kromaggs their sliding technology. This was so convoluted that I decided to address it very distantly -- first with acknowledging that "Darkness" did happen through having Rembrandt comment that the last time the sliders saw him, Smarter-Quinn was wearing a crazy wig and facepaint. Then finally, I had Smarter-Quinn mention that when reality was rewritten, he went insane (which indicates his claim to have given Kromaggs sliding was a delusion), but he found himself eventually. Anything more would have been disruptive.
Mallory in SLIDERS REBORN would serve no purpose. The whole concept for Mallory was fundamentally flawed; the idea was that he would be more street-smart where Quinn was book-smart. Except Quinn's intelligence was completely capable of addressing physical and practical problems through improvised solutions and quick-thinking -- so Mallory wasn't actually bringing anything to the table that Quinn didn't already have; if anything, he brought less. If Quinn is in the story, Mallory is completely unnecessary.
Robert Floyd, very cleverly, focused on the identity crisis; the idea that Quinn and Mallory were two separate, conflicting personalities who would both have different perspectives. Mallory would be selfish, emotional, insincere; Quinn would be moral, analytical, heartfelt. Mallory would be empathetic and eager to engage with people; Quinn would be withdrawn and secretive. Quinn would be a risktaking crusader for justice; Mallory would want to save his own skin first. That peculiar dynamic would honour Jerry O'Connell while creating something new -- which truly speaks to how much Floyd respected Quinn Mallory and SLIDERS. But if Jerry's Quinn is present, this simply isn't needed.
Colin also serves no purpose; if you have Jerry as the young scientist, you don't need another one. Colin's naivete and innocence are also unnecessary because Quinn already had that sense of wide-eyed wonder or would if he were written correctly.
Ultimately, my (imagined?) responsibilities are to serving the original four -- Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo. The original and iconic sliders. But in my view, the best version of Sliders would have Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt, Arturo, Maggie, Colin, Mallory and Diana all sitting at the table together. If my story needs an action-girl with spy skills, that's Maggie; if my story needs to give Arturo another scientist who isn't Quinn to bounce off of, that's Diana. And I have some ideas for how to integrate the Season 3 monsters into a Season 1 - 2 style version of SLIDERS. But Colin and Mallory -- how do they serve the original four?
I have found no satisfactory answer and no one has been able to give me one -- so I'm steering clear of them outside of isolated visual and in-dialogue reference.